The Stacey Rice era of Pennsylvania Rebellion softball could not have gotten off to a better start.
Rice, who took over the manager’s responsibilities after Rick Bertagnolli resigned Wednesday, got her first National Pro Fastpitch softball league victory with a dramatic comeback in the final inning.
Just the way Hollywood would have scripted it.
The Rebellion scored two runs on a passed ball with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Bandits Wednesday at Consol Energy Park.
The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak and moved the Rebellion record to 3-10.
“The players needed this,” said the 28-year-old Rice. “(Breaking the losing streak) was probably our most difficult feat. We had to overcome ourselves. We definitely stayed positive.”
The last-inning dramatics began when Bianca Mejia singled to lead off the inning. Ashley Carter pinch-ran for Mejia and moved to third when pinch-hitter Sarah Prezioso singled to center and went to second on the throw to third base trying to get Carter.
Bandits starter Michelle Gascoigne sent a pitch into Jenn Salling that ricocheted off the glove of catcher Kristen Butler for a passed ball that allowed Carter and Prezioso to score.
“There was no way I was stopping at third,” said Prezioso. “We’re as good as any team in the league. This is exactly what we needed.”
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning when Amber Patton doubled to open the inning, was sacrificed to third, then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Megan Wiggins.
Sarah Pauly pitched seven strong innings, allowing five hits and no walks, to pick up the win.
“Like any success or failures, you have to keep pushing through,” said Pauly. “All these girls are fighters and are willing to do what it takes to get a win.”
Attendance was 1,397 … The two-game series will be completed tonight. The Rebellion will then have eight days off before resuming Saturday, June 28 to start a four-game series at Akron.